Eagles field hockey falls to Iowa in the first round of the NCAA Championships
The loss snaps AU’s 8-game winning streak
The 15-seeded American University field hockey team nearly pulled off a dramatic upset, but ultimately fell short against the third-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes Friday afternoon 3-2.
The Eagles led 2-1late in the third quarter, but two fourth-quarter goals by Iowa’s Ciara Smith ultimately made the difference. The Eagles showcased a gritty defensive effort on Iowa's frozen tundra. Sophomore Bryn Underwood, the Patriot-league goalkeeper of the year, started the game strong with four consecutive saves. She ended the game with five saves as opposed to Iowa’s one.
Iowa’s Lokke Stribos halted Underwood’s save streak with a laser of a score with 8:41 remaining in the second quarter.
Iowa went into halftime nursing a 1-0 lead, but an offensive surge from the Eagles erased that advantage. With 8:41 left in the third quarter, junior and Eagles midfielder Julia Kraft scored off an assist from sophomore forward Emily Horace, knotting the game up at 1-1. Just a few possessions later, midfielder Imogen Hatton would score after a green card on Iowa’s Ellie Holley gave the Eagles a number advantage. The Eagles led 2-1 after the third quarter.
Entering the fourth quarter, the Eagles had the lead, the momentum and a goalkeeper playing at the top of her game. Yet, those factors couldn’t foil Smith’s scoring prowess. Smith scored twice in the first six minutes of the final quarter for her ninth and 10th goals on the season, giving the Hawkeyes a 3-2 lead.
American pressed hard on both sides of the ball in the last 10 minutes, but couldn’t create any open scoring opportunities. The clock struck zero before the Eagles could answer, resulting in a 3-2 Iowa victory.
Iowa finished the game with thirteen shot attempts as opposed to AU's three.
Today’s loss marks the end of an impressive season for AU field hockey. The Eagle’s 13-3 record is the highest winning percentage they’ve had since 2010 when they went 18-4. Despite the season’s bittersweet conclusion, with seven promising freshmen, the future of AU field hockey is bright.